For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
Works Thomas Girtin and Joseph Mallord William Turner after (?) Edward Dayes

The Head of Derwentwater, with the Lodore Falls

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0788a: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), after (?) Edward Dayes (1763–1804), The Head of Derwentwater, with the Lodore Falls, 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on paper, 26.7 × 38.1 cm, 10 ½ × 15 in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Paul Mellon Centre Photographic Archive, PA-F05905-0009 (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) after (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804)
  • The Head of Derwentwater, with the Lodore Falls
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
26.7 × 38.1 cm, 10 ½ × 15 in
Object Type
Collaborations; Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Lake Scenery; The Lake District; Waterfall Scenery

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); his posthumous sale, possibly Christie's, 26 June 1833, lot 89 as 'Colebrook Dale, Winderemere and Keswick 6' by 'Turner'; bought by 'Linden', £3 7s; ... Christie's, 5 June 1973, lot 77 as by Joseph Mallord William Turner; bought by 'Cook', 1,300 gns; Christie’s, New York, 9 June 1981, lot 96 as by Joseph Mallord William Turner, unsold

About this Work

This view of the head of Derwentwater, looking towards Borrowdale with the Lodore Falls to the left, was made at the home of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833), where Girtin and his contemporary Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) were employed across three winters, probably between 1794 and 1797. Their task, as they recalled to the diarist Joseph Farington (1747–1821), was to copy ‘the outlines or unfinished drawings of’ principally John Robert Cozens (1752–97), but other artists too, including Girtin’s master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804). The ‘finished drawings’ they were commissioned to produce were the result of a strict division of labour: ‘Girtin drew in outlines and Turner washed in the effects’. As the young artists reported, ‘They went at 6 and staid till Ten’, with Turner receiving ‘3s. 6d each night’ whilst ‘Girtin did not say what He had’ (Farington, Diary, 12 November 1798).1 The outcome of their joint labours was substantial, amounting to several hundred drawings of which at least twenty are Lake District scenes after compositions by Dayes.

Girtin made a number of copies of his master’s views of the Lake District during his apprenticeship, including Lake Windermere and Belle Isle (TG0078). Since he was never actually to travel to one of the country’s most popular picturesque regions, for artists as well as their patrons and customers, he continued to base his Lake District views on the works of others throughout his career. As with the numerous copies that Girtin and Turner created from compositions by Cozens, it was the slight sketches and outlines that Dayes made on his travels that were used as the source for their more finished watercolours. Monro’s posthumous sale, in 1833, contained several hundred of Dayes’ sketches, including seven ‘Views on the lakes, blue and Indian ink’ as well as views of ‘Keswick, Glanton, Patterdale’, all presumably made on his only documented visit to the Lakes in 1789, but there is no evidence that Monro owned any of the older artist’s studio works (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 2 July 1833, lots 42 and 45). Typically, the Dayes source for this popular view on Derwentwater has not been traced, though this does not mean we should look elsewhere for its model. Few of Dayes’ sketches have survived and, arguably, the fact that no source can be found in this case suggests that it was a thoroughly unprepossessing drawing that required considerable transformational skills from the young artists.

Monro’s posthumous sale contained more than forty Lake District views, all of which were attributed solely to Turner (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 26 June 1833; Christie’s, 1 July 1833). Unlike Girtin, Turner did visit the region, albeit only briefly in 1797. However, whilst some of the items in the sale may have resulted from this trip, the majority were noted as being in ‘blue and Indian ink’ and therefore employed the blue and grey palette associated with the Monro School works. This view of Derwentwater, with the Lodore Falls beyond, was described as being solely by Turner when it last appeared on the art market, but since then, and the publication of Andrew Wilton’s pioneering article in 1984, the joint attribution of such works has increasingly become the norm (Wilton, 1984a, pp.8–23). In this case Turner’s sparing use of a limited palette leaves extensive areas of the paper untouched to act as highlights, and Girtin’s distinctive pencil work is visible as a result. Turner visited the Lakes during his northern tour in 1797 and perhaps with this composition in mind he produced two sketches from much the same point at the head of Derwentwater (Tate, Turner Bequest, XXXV 19 and XXXV 82) and from these he made a watercolour for Joseph Farington (Private Collection).

1791 - 1792

Lake Windermere and Belle Isle


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 The full diary entry, giving crucial details of the artists’ work at Monro’s house, is transcribed in the Documents section of the Archive (1798 – Item 2).

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.